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 Minna—It was a gathering of the who’s who in the nation’s business and political firmament   at  Minna, yesterday, to await the arrival of former Military President, General Ibrahim   Babangida (rtd),  his son, Mohammed, and the body of the former First Lady, Mrs. Maryam   Babangida, who died of ovarian cancer in a U.S hospital on Sunday

 Babangida arrived in a chartered German aircraft marked CS-DPF at 5. 45 p.m. but  without  the body of the deceased. The retired general sobbed profusely  as he alighted from the plane  and was unable to acknowledge greetings from sympathisers.

 The Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umaru Farouk Bahago, received him at the tarmac but he could  not respond to his  greetings as he broke down in tears.
 Babangida and the dignataries left the airport 15 minute later, in a convoy with other  sympathisers  to his Hilltop home in Minna.

 At the airport were, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan,Aliyu Shinkafi, Olagunsoye Oyinlola,  Aliyu Babangida, Aliyu Shinkafi, Chief Tony Anenih,
 Alhaji Aliyu Akilu, Alhaji Umaru Ndanusa, Maj-Gen Hamza Abdulahi (rtd), Justice Alfa  Belgore, Brig.-Gen. Raji Rasaki (rtd), Prof. Tunde Adeniran, Senator Jim Nwobodo, Mr  Nduka Obaigbena, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, Prof. Charles Soludo, Alhaji Aliko Dangote,  Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim and Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umaru Farouk Bahago.

 Gen. Abubakar shed tears for Maryam Meantime, the former Head of State, General   Abdusalam Abubakar, also shed tears on arrival at the Babangidas’  residence for the first  time to condole the family members over the demise of former first lady, Mrs. Maryam  Babangida.

 Gen. Abubakar, who is a neighbour to the Babangidas, had been in Niger Republic on an  international peace mission trip for over 20 days and had to cut short the trip to pay his last  respects to the deceased.

 The former Head of State, who was driven straight to the Babangidas’ residence was moody  as he stepped into the compound.
 As he alerted from his vehicle, and stepped into the compound he was greeted by other  sympathisers and before walking into the sitting room, tears rolled down his cheeks as he  shook his head in total disbelief to the shocking death of Maryam.

 After condoling with the family, he refused to grant interview to newsmen who waited  for his  reaction over the death of the deceased, saying, “I will be back; I will see you people later.”

 However, Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Aliyu Shinkafi, has described the late Maryam  as a mother and a role model to everybody, especially the womenfolk

 Answering questions from newsmen at the Babangidas’ residence, the governor, who is an  in- law to the family having married Aisha, the first daughter of the deceased said, “she was a  mother to us, it is a pity that she died when the nation needed her services most.”

 He prayed God to grant her eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

 Similarly, Minister of Interior, Alhaji Mustapha Shetima, who was a minister under  Gen.  Babangida’s regime, described the former first lady as “very simple, straight-forward and  always ready to assist,’‘ adding that she was an example for all women to emulate.

 Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, Alhaji Musa Ma’ali, described the death of the  former first lady as a great loss not only to Niger State but indeed, to the country.



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